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With its vibrant culture and lively streets, New Orleans sees its fair share of car accidents. If you’re involved in a car collision on roads like the I-10 or Chef Menteur Highway, a New Orleans car accident lawyer from Dudley DeBosier can guide you through the claims process and help you receive a fair payout.

Knowing what not to do after a crash can protect your legal rights and well-being, helping you achieve the best outcome for your case.

The Most Common Mistakes Made by Car Accident Victims

Being involved in a car accident can be a disorienting and stressful experience. Whether your crash happens on Bourbon Street or in the quieter New Orleans neighborhoods, avoiding the following common mistakes post-accident can safeguard your rights and encourage a fair resolution:

Admitting Fault at the Scene

One of the most critical mistakes to avoid is admitting fault at the accident scene. Even if you believe you may have contributed to the accident, remain neutral and avoid taking the blame. Fault determination is a complex process, and your admission could be used against you later.

It’s better to let the insurance companies and, if necessary, the court determine who is at fault based on all the available evidence gathered and presented by your attorney.

Not Calling the Police

In New Orleans, you must call 911 and request law enforcement at the scene if the crash resulted in injury, death, or more than $500 in property damage. A police report can be valuable evidence in establishing fault and documenting the details of the accident. You or your attorney can request the accident report from the New Orleans Police Department through an online accident report request.

Leaving the Scene Prematurely

Do not leave the accident scene before the police arrive. You must stay at the accident location until the police collect the necessary information. After the crash, stay at the scene, exchange information such as insurance details with the other involved parties, and provide your statement for the police report.

Failure to remain at the scene could lead to criminal charges such as a hit-and-run. Remain at the scene until you’ve fulfilled your legal obligations and the authorities permit you to leave.

Neglecting to Gather Evidence

Failing to collect evidence can weaken your insurance claim or legal case. Always take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, license plates, visible injuries, skid marks, faulty traffic lights, and weather conditions. Also, gather witness contact information and their statements, if possible.

Not Seeking Medical Attention

Some car accident injuries, such as whiplash, may not manifest immediately after an accident. Seeing a healthcare professional is vital for your health and helps establish a connection between the accident and any injuries sustained.

Visit an emergency room or urgent care provider immediately after the accident, and keep all records and follow-up treatment plans to support any future claims.

Admitting Fault to Insurance Companies

Avoid admitting fault when speaking to insurance adjusters. Stick to the facts and avoid speculating about the cause of the accident. Be cautious about providing recorded statements to the other party’s insurance company without consulting an attorney. Anything you say may be used against you to reduce or deny your compensation claim.

Delaying the Reporting Process

Although Louisiana is a tort state, which means you need to prove the other driver caused the crash to get compensation, you should still notify your own insurance company promptly after the accident. It helps preserve vital evidence, establish fault, and facilitate a timely and accurate investigation.

It also allows your insurer to safeguard your rights, guide you on the necessary steps following the accident, and swiftly address coverage for a rental car or vehicle repairs if it is part of your policy.

Talking About the Accident on Social Media

Do not discuss or post about the accident or your injuries on social media. Insurance companies or opposing legal counsel may use your posts to dispute your claims or portray your injuries as less severe.

For example, posting a picture of yourself at a family gathering may be used to show that your injuries are not severe or you aren’t suffering from debilitating psychological damage.

Settling Too Quickly

Don’t rush to accept a settlement from the insurance company, especially if you’re uncertain about the extent of your injuries and damages. Before filing, you should wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), which means your injuries have improved as much as expected by medical experts.

Consult with a personal injury attorney to estimate fair compensation based on your MMI to ensure you don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Not Consulting with an Attorney

Always speak with an attorney after a crash caused by another’s negligence. Our experienced car accident attorneys in New Orleans can provide valuable legal guidance, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and represent your interests in litigation proceedings if needed.

Overlooking the Statute of Limitations

Every state has a statute of limitations. This law outlines the time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Louisiana, you have one year from the accident date to file. You must act within this period to avoid losing your right to seek compensation.

Contact a New Orleans Car Accident Lawyer You Can Trust

When you’re involved in a car accident in New Orleans or face any personal injury situation, remember that you have rights and options. The aftermath of an accident can be challenging and confusing, but you don’t have to navigate it alone.

At Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, we help victims who have been injured due to the negligence of others. Our experienced team is committed to providing you with the legal support and guidance you need to protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve.

Contact us for a free consultation, and let us assess your case. Don’t let common mistakes jeopardize your claim or your future well-being.

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